Get Involved! Join our Meetings.

You don’t need to wait until an AGM to come out to HARE meetings!

The board invites all those interested to attend our meetings and have your say. What do you want to know about renewable energy?

We want to know what you think about moving renewable energy forward in Hamilton.

What are your thoughts and ideas on the direction HARE can take? Are you interested in community-owned renewable energy projects for Hamilton?

We meet at 7pm on the third Tuesday of the month at Environment Hamilton (22 Wilson St. Hamilton suite 4).

Get in touch!

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Tour the only geothermal church in North America

Meadowlands Fellowship Christian Reformed Church, located in Ancaster, Ontario, is the only exclusively geothermally heated and cooled church in North America.

140405-GeothermalChurchPoster(618x800)Denise Neutel will give a talk and tour of this building, which was constructed in 2005.

Time and date

The tour will be held on Saturday,  April 5th 2014, from 10:00 am to 11.30 am


Meadowlands Fellowship Christian Reformed Church
211 Stonehenge Drive
Ancaster, ON  L9K 1R4

Registration is required

To register, please contact Beatrice Ekoko at 905-549-0900 or

This Event has been sponsored by Greening Sacred Spaces (Environment Hamilton) and Hamilton Association for Renewable Energy (HARE).

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Putting Sustainability into Action with Horizon Utilities

Putting Sustainability into Action: Rates, Renewables, Conservation, Smart Growth

PDF version of the presentation prvided by Neil Freeman, Vice President, Business Development Horizon Utilities to HARE members

Click here to open a PDF version of Neil Freeman’s presentation

A better future is not all about one effort, such as solar energy or turning off unnecessary lighting.  Rather, a smart and all-encompassing approach to energy including wiser usage, sustainable reduction and renewable generation are what will get us there.

On February 19, 2014, Neil Freeman, Vice President, Business Development for Horizon Utilities spoke at the Central branch of the Hamilton Public Library on the multi-faceted approach that Horizon has been successfully implementing.  This blog entry summarizes some of those efforts.  Click the image to the right for a PDF version of the presentation.

Better rates

The savvy folks at Horizon Utilities know that everyone wants lower electricity rates.  These make residential customers happy and encourage commercial business to relocate to Hamilton and become customers.  Through partnerships with municipal and commercial entities, Horizon has been using conservation incentives and innovative information systems to keep rates low.

Sometimes, good intentions require a framework to realize measurable success.  On that front, Horizon has sought certifications to help focus their initiatives, as well as prove and share their efforts globally.  These include ISO 14001, ISO 26000, Sustainable Electricity Company and an A+ rating with the Global Reporting Initiative.

Renewable energy

Image of a commercial building with solar panels installed - courtesy Horizon UtilitiesOn the renewable energy front, Horizon Utilities now has 6.4 MW of generation spread across 280 microFIT installations and 24 FIT projects.  There are still 70 microFIT and 25 FIT projects in the connection queue, and they are estimating 60-70 microFIT and 10 FIT projects per year going forward.  This means that they are most certainly not standing still on renewable energy!

Some of these solar installations are on Horizon-owned buildings in Hamilton and Stoney Creek, developed through their subsidiary, Horizon Energy Solutions Inc.


Horizon’s latest project is a computer data model that integrates all their electricity consumption data with geographic and realty data to graphically show consumption across their customer area.  By combining usage with realty data, a usage per square metre metric can be extracted and examined.  This kWh/m2 information allows for highly focused conservation efforts.  This is a much wiser approach than blanketing the city with pamphlets.

Smart growth

By combining this information with municipal planning, a highly sustainable smart growth initiative can be built.  By increasing density, more housing and economic activity can occur without major infrastructure investments.  Greater density leads to greater walkability, which helps environmental progress.

Image representing what is and what could be with a Smart Growth strategy - courtesy Horizon UtilitiesCombining utility and realty information has more benefits as well.  MLS data could include better information on existing electrical infrastructure and capacity information, helping businesses find the ideal location.

They are also using this information to improve the existing provincial rule set around customer connection costs and processes.  This will allow new customers to take advantage of a connection cost based upon real needs, rather than upon a generic framework.  This new practice could reduce the connection cost of a commercial entity by up to 100%.  This is exactly the type of incentive that can drive new customers to Horizon and new jobs to Hamilton.

Attracting commercial customers

Before Horizon began building this comprehensive database tool, it was very difficult for a business to discover all the information necessary to locate their ideal property.  It is now magnitudes easier, and the tool isn’t even finished yet.

Once a business has chosen their ideal site, Horizon information can lead to various retrofit incentives.  By actively seeking these opportunities and partnering with the municipalities of Hamilton and St. Catharines, Horizon is able to pride itself on securing the largest saveONenergy grants every year since its inception in 2008.

As in all business, these efforts have all begun from the desire to improve their business and bottom line.  The success of their work will lead to a healthier Hamilton through increased use of renewable energy, energy waste reduction and better urban planning.

HARE would very much like to thank Neil Freeman, Vice President, Business Development, Horizon Utilities for speaking to our group and engaging in an excellent question and answer session.

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2014 Annual General Meeting (AGM)

Are you interested in renewable energy in the Hamilton area?  The Hamilton Association for Renewable Energy (HARE) will be holding their 2014 Annual General Meeting on Sunday, January 26th.

Whether you are a HARE member or not, all are welcome to attend.  Come meet the 2013 Board of Directors and get up to date on what HARE and our partner, the Green Energy Co-operative of Ontario (GECO), have been doing.


We will be meeting in the Hamilton Room at the Hamilton Central Public Library on York Boulevard.  Doors will open at 1:30pm and the meeting will begin at 2pm, running until 4pm.

Call for nominations

We will be holding a call for nominations to replace the mandated 1/3 of our current board members.  You are welcome to stand up to offer your input in the actions and direction of HARE for the next year.

Anyone willing to run should e-mail or use our Contact page for more information.


In addition to the AGM business, we will have two presentations which will be of interest:

  • How Local Improvement Charges (LIC’s) can aid investment in home energy improvements presented by Heather Donison, Senior Project Manager Sustainability at City Of Hamilton.  Heather has been with the City of Hamilton since 2007, and was formerly the Executive Director of Green Venture.
  • What is happening at the McMaster Centre for Climate Change.  (Speaker details coming soon!)

Project Investment

There is still time to take advantage of the investment opportunity offered by our partner, GECO.  These are solar energy projects in southern Ontario under the current FIT 2.0 framework.  More information on how to take advantage of this investment in local renewable energy is on the GECO website.

HARE Annual General Meeting
Hamilton Central Public Library
55 York Blvd, Hamilton, ON  L8R 3K7

Date: Sunday, January 26th
Time: 2 pm to 4 pm.

Members and non-members of HARE are all welcome.


Investors are also invited to attend the GECO AGM which is being held on Thursday January 23rd.

Notice of Annual General Meeting of the Green Energy Co-operative of Ontario
Doors open at 6:30 pm for meeting start at 7:00 pm.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
La Dome Banquet Hall
1173 North Service Road East
Oakville, Ontario

To register for the GECO AGM please contact Jacelyn Flynn at 1-888-908-4326 or

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Your investment window is now open.

If you want to invest in solar energy, now is the time. Investors need to act by December 2013 to join in this opportunity.

Last Tuesday (November 19th), members of HARE heard details of the 18 approved solar projects being undertaken by the Green Energy Cooperative of Ontario.

Since September 2012 HARE has had a Memorandum of Understanding with GECO to enable HARE members to participate in GECO projects. All of the details of the GECO projects are formally contained in the Offering Statement published on GECO’s website.

You should read the Offering Statement in full and take financial advice before investing. The Board and members of HARE are not giving financial advice or making any recommendation on this investment.

Learn more. Ask questions.

To provide HARE investors with opportunities to ask further questions a meeting has been scheduled for individuals or smaller groups to meet with GECO board members at the Environment Hamilton offices, 22 Wilson St, Suite 4. on Tuesday, Dec 3 from 11 am to 9 pm. Interested investors are invited to drop in at their convenience during these hours.

Additional public meetings have been scheduled by GECO in the next two weeks to talk to different groups in Burlington, Oshawa, London, Woodstock and Harriston – details can be found on the Events Page on GECO’s website.

The Burlington meeting is on Wednesday December 4th 2013 at Fortinos (meeting room) 1059 Plains Road East, 7 pm – 9 pm.
Summary of the GECO projects
The projects are majority owned (>50%) by GECO with participation from other partners.

18 projects – 16 rooftop solar projects and 2 ground mount projects
Burlington; 1 rooftop commercial/industrial
Halton (Rockwood); 2 ground mount
Guelph; 1 agricultural building
Woodstock; 3 agricultural buildings
London; 8 commercial/industrial buildings
Whitby/Ajax; 3 commercial/industrial buildings
Although GECO submitted a number of Hamilton located projects, these were not approved mainly because there was insufficient connection capacity.

Total Generation Capacity of 6.2 MW with weighted average FIT rate of $0.511 per kWh should generate approximately $3,700,000 in annual revenue in year one of production.

Total investment $24M with planned financing 77% debt and 23% equity.
Target rate of return 10% p.a.
Available as RRSP investment if requested; you will need to open an account with a specified holding institution.

Project schedule
Negotiate final debt facility for portfolio of projects Sept ’13 to Jan ‘14

Submit Connection Impact Assessments (CIA’s) to LDC’s Oct ‘13 to Dec ‘13

Raise $3,300,000 of equity through sale of Preferred Shares Nov ‘13 to Dec ‘13

Obtain final quotes for “Turn-Key” Project Construction Feb 2014

Construction begins on first projects April 2014

Construction completed on final project Dec 2014


GECO are the Green Energy Cooperative of Ontario

The Green Energy Co-operative of Ontario (GECO) provides a membership opportunity for Ontario residents to own and invest in community owned green energy projects, creating clean local power while supporting local employment and community development.

GECO has a portfolio of solar projects in progress, working with developers on commercial and industrial rooftop applications, as well as ground mount solar projects.


You need to be a member of GECO – at a one time cost of $10.

Minimum investment = $400
Maximum investment = $200,000
Type of investment = Preferred shares
Term of investment = 20 years

As with all financial investments, READ THE SMALL PRINT in the Offering Statement.

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Invitation to Hamilton Public Meeting for HARE & GECO Investment Presentation Nov 19 2013

Invitation to Hamilton Public Meeting for HARE & GECO Investment Presentation Nov 19 2013

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Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE) group launched

Logo for the Women in Renewable Energy groupRebecca and Joanna, Co-Chairs, WiRE and the members of the WiRE Advisory Board, are excited to announce the new Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE) group, inclusive of ALL renewable energy technologies!  WiRE launched at the CanWEA Conference this week (press release here).

You can follow all the activities and learn more about WiRE on their new website,

Their inaugural networking meet-up will occur on Wednesday, October 16th.  Come out and join them.

When and where:

Wednesday, October 16
The Black Horse
928 Bloor Street West, Toronto

All women are welcome and registration is not required.

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Just a block and a half west of Ossington TTC station. Street parking on south side of Bloor or at Green P across from Ossington TTC station.

The WiRE group will be holding their first field trip on Tuesday, November 5th.  This will be a rooftop solar workshop including a site visit, EPC (Engineering Procurement and Construction) / Technology & Community Solar Bond presentations.  Registration is required for this event.

If you wish to support and build the WiRE community, you can:

Follow WiRE on twitter: @WiREOntario

Like WiRE on facebook:

Join our LinkedIn group:

We at HARE join the excitement from the folks at WiRE and its expanded mission to bring more women together and effect positive change to Renewable Energy policy in Ontario.

About Women In Renewable Energy (WiRE)

WiRE is a non-profit group dedicated to furthering education and awareness surrounding renewable energy development and policy in Ontario, Canada. WiRE expands the involvement of professional women across renewable energy industry segments through educational field trips, monthly networking meetings, and communications and engagement initiatives. WiRE’s goal is to play an important and visible role in the Ontario energy sector, while advancing the role and recognition of women making a difference in the field.

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The MEC tour report!

Yesterday the Green Club Evening at MEC in Burlington was an exciting and informative experience.  We learned so much about MEC’s sustainable initiatives and the information here is just the tip of the iceberg.



Perhaps the most relevant aspect of the tour to HARE members were the solar panels which many tour participants got to experience up close.  Instead of having one central inverter, each row of panels had its own smaller inverter which are the white boxes you see in the photo above.  Inverters are necessary to convert the direct current (DC) electricity generated by the panels to the alternating current (AC) electricity we use in our electricity grid.


As will be explored later in this post, there are other interesting features on the MEC Burlington roof.  In order to prevent some of the other roof features from shading the panels and disturbing electricity generation MEC installed these interesting escalating racking systems.  Click here for more information about MEC’s rooftop solar.


This is a view of MEC’s ceiling from inside the store.  This central portion, is elevated to allow for skylight windows which you can see on the right and left.  These windows help brighten up the store without the use of electricity.  You can also see two vents down the centre that open and close automatically for optimal heating and air conditioning.


MEC’s parking lot has a small slope designed to feed all the rain water into a wetland area on the periphery that is owned and preserved by the co-operative.  Rainwater is also used throughout the store where water conservation measures are in full force.


MEC’s store can be completely disassembled and reused!  Notice how the support beams are connected with nuts and bolts which are easy to unwind.


These are not your average air conditioning units.  The devices freeze water at night when electricity is cheap and plentiful and then use the ice to cool air throughout the day.


Patti and Patricia were our fantastic tour hosts.  They are a wealth of knowledge.  Behind them you will see some of their recycling measures.  The organization is obsessive about sorting their waste.  They even go out of their way to ensure that any waste brought in by customers (like coffee cups) ends up in the right place.

The document below is a PDF of the presentation provided by Patti on the solar power installation, including images showing the construction and the drawings required to get the project off the ground (and onto the roof).

MEC’s Rooftop Solar System (1,138 KB PDF file)

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Collective bike ride to the MEC tour this Thursday!

As many HARE members know we are organizing a free tour of Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) this Thursday, July 25th from 7-9 pm.  You can find the details of the tour here!  Please, don’t forget to register for the event.

Several tour participants are organizing a collective bike ride from Hamilton to the Burlington MEC location.  We are planning to depart from downtown from Sonic Unyon building located at 22 Wilson Street at 5:30 pm sharp so don’t be late or you might miss us.

While this should be a fun bike ride there are few considerations that should be noted.  The bike ride is expected to take over an hour each way.  Also, we are going to select a comfortable, safe route but we may have to travel along some busy roads.  And finally, we may not be returning until after 9 pm so we may be cycling home in the dark.  Make sure to pack lights and lots of reflective gear!

If you would like to see the route we have set map of a tentative route here although the exact directions may change.

We encourage everyone attending the sustainable MEC tour to arrive by sustainable transportation.  If you would like more information about the collective bike ride please contact Dante at or 905 549 0900.


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Tour of Burlington’s Mountain Equipment Co-op

Have you ever wondered what a rooftop solar array looks like up close?  Ever have questions about how they work?  Well, you are totally in luck!

The Hamilton Association for Renewable Energy (HARE) along with the Green Energy Co-op of Ontario (GECO) and Halton Environmental Network (HEN) invite you to a Green Club Evening at Burlington’s Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC).  The building features a photovoltaic and solar thermal system that generates electricity, which is fed back to the Ontario power grid. It’s designed to meet LEED Gold certification.

MEC has graciously offered to hold a Sustainable Green Building Tour for our Groups on July 25, 2013 at 7pm.

Come early, stay late, as MEC will give our Groups a 10% discount on that day for any purchases Group members make at the store (remember to purchase you need to be a Co-op member of MEC – but membership is only $5 and it’s good for a lifetime)!

The tour will include:

  • Seminar on MEC’s rooftop Solar PV system, including a chance to get on the roof for a close up view (weather permitting)
  • Overview of MEC’s green building design and landscape architecture
  • MEC’s unique building cooling system
  • Burlington MEC’s Environmental Integrity Committee and the results of their Dumpster Dive!

Bring your bike and if the weather’s nice we can ride down to the waterfront afterwards for a cup of tea or coffee together.

Get a free ticket:

To reserve a spot, get your FREE ticket through Eventbrite here:

For those of you on Facebook, you can join the discussion on our event page here:


July 25, 2013 at 7pm


Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) Burlington
1030 Brant Street
Burlington, Ontario  L7R 0B2


This event is free, and includes an opportunity to get a discount on MEC merchandise!

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